Ok so last week I was saddened to see 2 deer being hit by a speeding SUV on my street. The white tail deer is one of my totems and I have been quite connected to a small herd of deer in our woods. It shook me to the core to see the deer being hit.. and the pain I felt from one of the remaining deer was just intense. Anyway this happened last Monday 1/23/12 in the early evening right after I got home from work. Well several days passed and Saturday morning I woke up and while taking my dog outside for his morning walk. I found just steps outside of my door a deer hoof and partial leg from one of the deer. In my morning fog, it took me by surprised and kinda freaked me out for a second to see this leg there. Then as I was walking the dog around the woods, the fog lifted and I realized this was a gift. It took several days for me to receive the gift, but it did make it's way to me. 

As I made my way back to the door and the hoof. It hit me that I am meant to incorporate this into my magickal tools.. I can envision it to be a very unique handle to a wand or to a rattle of some sort. I picked up the leg and put it in several bags and into the freezer. For having been out several days it didn't show visible deterioration like I would have expected... didn't even smell at all. It has been in the freezer since. 

My dilemma is that I have no idea if it is able to be salvaged? Is it too late for me to try to find a taxidermist? I really clueless when it comes to taxidermy. How much would this cost to be preserved? And if it is too late what can I do to preserve it on my own? It's not a large piece... just the hoof and about 4 -5 inches above the hoof...right at the joint. It still has the hide and you can see the bone poking out where I imagine the joint was ( it looked smooth and not broken) Any advice would be helpful. I am just at a loss as to how to care for this beautiful gift that my totem made sure reached my hands. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Blessings,

Elena 

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So sorry for the loss Elena. I've seen animals injured before and it is very hard. I'm not a taxidermy expert, but I would think it could be preserving ed just as they do for entire animals. As far as using it as part of your tools and workings, I think that's eat idea. You would have to remove the hide and clean the bone, but all of it could be used as a beautiful reminder of your friend! a gr

Thanks.. It was heartbreaking to see them hurt, although I know death is a part of life, it was still heartbreaking. I know that this is a gift though and will make sure it is used well and it will be one of my most beloved items.

Blessings,

Elena 

Google should be able to give you taxidermists in your area, and the yellow pages - old fashioned as they are - would have listings. Cost will be determined by your area and what you want to do with it.

It's not to late to salvage the leg; just be sure to keep it securely wrapped and frozen until you're ready to use it. Taxidermists routinely store critters & parts in the freezer until they're ready for them. For your safety, please make sure it's wrapped in several layers of plastic and sealed well. Trash bags will work nicely. Since it was a wild critter, there's always a risk of parasites or bacteria, and you don't want that getting into your food.

As for the DIY approach - how you treat the item depends on what you want the finished product to be. If you want to keep the hide and fur intact, it will need different treatment than if you want it to be just the bare bone. http://www.ehow.com/how_5315550_learn-taxidermy-home.html has info to get you started. I could see it being the top of a staff if you keep it intact, or perhaps becoming a rattle. There are as many options as your imagination allows.

Thanks Ravnfyr... I never thought of it being part of a staff. That would be a lovely idea as well. Whatever it may be.. it will be one of my most loved magickal tools. Thanks for the link by the way. I will look at it after I make dinner. Oh and I made sure to wrap it up well. It is triple layered and sealed with duck tape till I can figure out what to do with it. 

Blessings,

Elena 

you don't need no taxidermy ... Just hang it to dry real good you can bury it in salt for a few weeks and it should be good to do what every you like with it :)  The salt will dry it out faster  ... I have a hunter husband and we bury the heads with the antlers sticking up for a year then clean them and have beautiful skulls that we can hang up ... 

Sad when they are hit by cars .. Need more hunters in the woods .. Love the Good Hunter's !! 

cool is the skin not usable after that? and what kind of salt should be used?

Blessings,

Elena 

any table salt it fine .. But you can just let it air dry too .. It is just mostly bone and a little skin on the foot it might srink a bit but will be fine for a staff or wand ... Just hang it by a string out side and watch it .. Good Luck !! :)

personallly i wont use iodized salt.. messes with the hide.. plain salt... no additives.. you can get a 50 lb bag for like 5 bucks a tcs... as far as bone.. we clean it with a 50/50 water &  peroxide to whiten.. also have used peroxide & Clairol Basic which is a hair bleach... but not for over 40 mins...all of this is assuming that you have cleaned all the red meat away.. and if you want the hide workable there are more steps to tanning... plenty of books out there on the natural process..... hope it helps.... and on a side note.... if you watched them be hit, maybe you should consider that it was ment as an offering too... and should have blessed the meat and taken the complete gift into you... just a side note.

 

Ok.... I realize I may sound stupid ....but what the heck is a TCS? 5 bucks is right up my allie, as a single mom I don't have a lot of money to spend right now. And although I did see it getting hit, there were other's around...I live right on the outskirts of the city and although we live on 3 acres there is a ton of traffic.. the police were called and the dear was carried away. Locally if there is a deer that is hit the townships have a contract with a butcher and the meat is donated to local food banks. The animals were carried away immediately and I'm sure several families were blessed with the meat. 

Blessings,

Elena 

If you want to go the plain salt route, kosher salt will work fine and it's cheap. Put a layer of salt in a gallon ziplock bag, add the hoof, & pour in more salt until it's buried. Let it sit  until it's fully dry and hardened - a few weeks, maybe a month - and you're done. Basically, you'd be mummifying it and it will keep well as long as it doesn't get wet. The salt will also kill any bacteria or parasites that are lurking.

Air drying will work, as Bella said, but you run the risk of insects or animals damaging it. A friend of mine lost a deer foot to a small hawk that way. Since this is the rainy season in many areas of the US, mold & rot would also be a risk. 

sorry Elena... its been crazy around here, just saw the question.. it should read TSC..(fat fingered that one didn't I)... which is short for Tractor Supply Co..... any of your "farm/ranch" type businesses should carry something like it.

LOL... thanks for clearing that up.. I will look into it and thanks for all the advice everyone. I am so grateful to be able to come on here to find answers. Although I do have pagan friends.. nobody around here knew what I should do. I'm glad I got such great advice. I'm going to get the salt this weekend and start the drying process.

Blessings,

Elena 

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